Gov. Haslam Delays Insurance Decision

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(Nashville, TN) Gov. Bill Haslam has delayed a decision on whether the state will create a way for residents to buy and compare insurance.

It;s called an “exchange” and several states have theirs set up already.

The deadline was today but has been extended to December 14.

Governors Haslam has said the Department of Health and Human Services was not giving states enough information to set up a proper plan.

Haslam issued a statement Friday:

“The deadline for states to respond to the federal government about health insurance exchanges has been extended. We are hopeful in the coming weeks we will receive answers from Washington to the many questions we’ve asked in our effort to have a full picture of the future of exchanges in Tennessee.

“Let me be clear: I oppose the Affordable Care Act. I joined with other Republican governors earlier this year to fight the law. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court upheld a majority of it this summer, including the provision that states are required to either participate in a federal exchange or establish their own,” the governor’s statement said.

“I understand there is a lot of passion and uncertainty about the health care law, and I share that frustration. As governor, I believe it is my job to put emotions aside and to make the tough decisions on the serious issues that impact Tennesseans. That is what I’m working hard to do.”

Despite the extension, Democratic leaders in the state House of Representatives said Friday the governor to go ahead and announce a decision.

“The governor has had ample time to decide whether or not he wants to establish a Tennessee plan for a Health Insurance Exchange,” House Democratic Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley said in a statement. “Now is not the time for more delays, now is the time to create an open process that brings all interested parties to the table; Democrats, Republicans, consumer advocates, insurance companies, small businesses and others, to start deciding what this Tennessee Health Insurance Exchange will look like.”

The Democrats said Haslam has accepted $9.1 million in federal grants to study and design an exchange in Tennessee, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.